The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has implemented a screening protocol all patients must go through prior to entering its clinics. The screening process went into effect at 1 p.m. Wednesday and includes the Community Based Outreach Center in Jamestown and all other VA health facilities in North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, according to a VA press release.
The screening includes three questions:
- Do you have a fever, worsening cough or shortness of breath?
- Have you been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 known as the coronavirus?
- Have you traveled in the last 14 days?
People at risk of having COVID-19 will be immediately isolated at the clinic, according to the press release.
Patients are directed to call or knock at the door of the clinic. Screening would occur before the patient enters the clinic area and may lengthen the time the patient is at the clinic. Patients are also advised not to bring family or friends to their appointments.
Patients who anticipate answering yes to the screening questions are asked to call the VA prior to arriving for their appointment.
The VA screening process is the most rigorous although the two Sanford clinics in Jamestown also have coronavirus screening as part of the patient check-in process, according to Jon Lillejord, Sanford Clinic manager in Jamestown.
"We're not keeping people from coming in but we are asking questions," he said. "If they answer yes to the two travel questions we go through another set of respiratory health questions."
People answering those questions in the affirmative are taken from the waiting room area directly to a treatment room for further examination or treatment, Lillejord said.
Robin Iszler, unit administrator for Central Valley Health District, said there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Dakota although seven people are currently being monitored.